The Boy Who Followed His Father Into Auschwitz: a true story retold for young readers by Jeremy Dronfield

            The Boy Who Followed His Father Into Auschwitz: a true story retold for young readers by Jeremy Dronfield. Quill Tree Books, 2023.  9780063236172

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover

What did you like about the book? Kurt is 10-years-old and his brother Fritz 14 when the Nazis begin terrorizing the Jews living in Vienna.  In 1939 one of Fritz’s older sisters, Edith, is sent away to England.  Later that year Fritz and his father are taken to Buchenwald.  Fritz’s mother works tirelessly to get passage for Kurt to escape to the United States which he finally does alone in February of 1941, going to live with people he has never met, speaking no English and leaving his family and all he knows behind.  This leaves Mama and sister Herta alone in Vienna.  In June of 1942 Mama and Herta are transported to a camp in the east and never heard from again. Fritz and Papa are “fortunate” enough to be together through the next five years of starvation, persecution and illness watching so many die. The stories are told mostly from the viewpoint of Kurt experiencing life in Massachusetts and Fritz experiencing life in the camps.  At one point, after being in the camps for years, Fritz’s father was scheduled to be sent to Auschwitz, the death camp.  Fritz was not but he chose to go with his father – This true account is, of course, horrific and heartbreaking, inconceivable at the cruelty, inhumanity and evil that can exist.  Yet it should and must be told.  The evil we witness here in the United States against Blacks and others is a constant reminder the evil is still out there and must be eradicated.

The author ends the book with “what happened after” (including photographs), a postscript, timeline of events, author’s note to parents and teachers, glossary, further reading, bibliography of works cited and source notes.

“Altogether, through battles, bombing, mass killings, disease, and starvation, World War II caused the deaths of around 60 million people– about equivalent in number to the entire population of California and New York State combined.  The majority of the dead were civilians.”

Anything you did not like about the book?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book? This is such a personal, detailed account of the Holocaust from those who lived it that it should be required reading for all grades.

Who should buy this book? Public, elementary, middle school and high school libraries

Where would you shelve it? 940.531

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: January 31, 2023

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